Uniquely American: Southern Barbecue

Southern-style barbecue—the low-and-slow cooking process that transforms tough cuts of meat into meltingly tender morsels of rapture—is uniquely American. And, as the early Americans moved westward, barbecue accompanied them and changed dramatically in the process.

Barbecuing, or cooking in a smoker, is very different from grilling in terms of heat intensity and technique. Smoking woods are chosen for their regional availability and ability to complement the flavors of the meat.

Today, there are four predominant regional styles of Southern barbecue, and numerous sub-styles, spreading East to West. As you follow the barbecue path, the sauce changes from thin and vinegary to sweet and tomatoey the farther West you go. (more…)

Smoking Meats 101

Low and slow. The very words make mouths water. Nothing caps off a lazy summer day more perfectly than a meal of sumptuous proportions from your smoker.

And nothing stokes a smoke master’s ego more than some positive comments about his or her smoke ring. That’s the true test—the visible evidence of the smoke’s penetration. The deeper the smoke ring, the more masterful the man or woman at the helm.

If you think nothing tastes better than food cooked with wood, flame, and smoke, you will discover a whole new world of enjoyment and possibilities when you add smoking to your arsenal of cooking techniques. (more…)

Getting Ready for the Big One

If you’ve ever cooked with a wok, you know that making a stir fry is 90% preparation and 10% execution.

Staging a cookout for a large gathering of friends and family doesn’t stray too far from that basic formula.

Sure, a catering company would be one way to go. But for the intrepid grill enthusiast or pit master, cooking for 50 or more people for the first time is an all-out adventure.

Of course, there’s nothing you can do about the weather, except have a strong Plan B.

But what you can control—and the bottom-line question to the whole shindig—is: Can you get enough food out on time to feed everyone adequately?

With preparation, the answer is: Yes! (more…)

New Video! How To: Grill Roast

While everyone with a grill is comfortable grilling steaks, chops, burgers, and hot dogs, cooking a roast on the grill might seem like a daunting task best left to the intrepid.

But grill-roasting a beef roast is easier than you think. In principal, the biggest difference between grilling a steak or a roast is the amount of time required to bring it to golden-brown, aromatic perfection—the juiciest and most tender roast you can imagine with unique flavors only cooking with smoke and flame can impart.

(more…)

Summer is for Picnics!

Summertime is a time for eating and playing outdoors. That means it’s picnic weather! In order for a picnic to be enjoyable for everyone, the ambience must be casual and the food must be tasty and convenient. Set up, preparation, and clean up should be quick and easy. Because picnics aren’t just for eating—recreation is on the menu too. Frisbees, swimsuits, horseshoes, and kites are just as important as sandwiches, salads, and sodas! (more…)

A Tasting Theme Party: A Culinary Expedition

Whether you choose to explore the variety of preparations of one particular dish or take a culinary trek through a particular country or region via your menu, a themed tasting party is sure to excite the tastebuds of all your guests. (more…)

A Meat Tasting: Give Them Something to Talk About

Forget politics and religion for party talk. If you really want to get your get your guests involved in intense conversation and passionate debate, getting them to talk about food is a sure winner.

Everyone thinks they know what they like. So everyone has an opinion about food preferences. However, when presented with an array of side-by-side samplings, you’ll find participants admitting that they surprised themselves with the discovery of what they didn’t know about the nuances of tasting and their own taste preferences. (more…)

A Culinary Road Trip, Right on Your Grill

Burgers and hot dogs are staples of the classic American backyard get-together—easy to prepare and sure-fire summertime party pleasers. But they don’t have to be bland and boring with the same toppings time after time. In fact, you can host a tasting party centered just around these grilling-season favorites. Take the equivalent of a culinary road trip around our country and you’ll find a variety of ways to prepare burgers and dogs, depending on the region.

And whether your creation is authentic to a region or merely inspired by it, make it your own, make it delicious, and enjoy! (more…)

Dressed to Impress: Make Your Summertime Party Special with Elegant Presentation

Summer is the season for parties. It’s the time of year for graduation gatherings and family picnics, showers and anniversaries, garden parties and pool-side brunches.

When it comes to summer entertaining, we often think of backyard barbecues—a game of horseshoes, frosty mugs of ice-cold beer, and thick, juicy Porterhouse steaks sizzling away over the coals. But a party outdoors can be just as elegant as an indoor party. It’s all in how you present it.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for throwing an elegant summertime party. (more…)

What’s on a butcher’s menu for Father’s Day?

All of the Lobels—Stanley, Evan, Mark, and David—are butchers, sons of butchers, and fathers of a new generation of butchers in the making. And so, we thought we’d take a different look at Father’s Day by asking the butchers’ kids what makes the day special and memorable for them and their families. (more…)

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